BEST bus catches fire in Mumbai’s Matunga
Three commuters on-board a Worli-bound Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus on Wednesday had a narrow escape when it caught fire around 4.15pm on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road at Matunga Circle.
Nobody was hurt in the incident. The cause of fire on the single-decker bus, on route number 27 from Vaishali Nagar in Mulund east, is suspected to be a short circuit in its electric board.
This is the second such incident on a BEST bus in the past three months, raising questions over commuters’ safety.
“All the passengers, along with the driver and conductor, escaped unhurt,” said Anil Patankar, chairman BEST committee. “A detailed probe has been ordered.”
BEST claimed that after noticing the smoke from the electric switchboard, the driver Tatu Fernandes stopped the vehicle on the roadside and tried to douse the fire with the extinguisher in the bus.
The fire brigade then reached the spot and doused it completely, before towing away the vehicle to the depot for further investigation.
Patankar said the cabin portion of the bus and few seats behind it were gutted in the fire.
An eyewitness said she heard loud sounds from the cabin of the bus, when it caught fire. “We heard a loud sound, when the bus burst into flames before the fire brigade arrived,” said Payal Shah, a Matunga resident.
BEST officials said the bus runs on diesel and was added to the fleet in May 2017, meaning it is just two years old.
This is the second such incident within three months. Earlier on May 3 morning, a bus on route number 646 caught fire near Gokuldham market stop, owing to a CNG leak. BEST buses are the second-biggest mode of public transport following suburban locals, in Mumbai.